If you suffer from chronic back pain, the thought of long distance air travel can cause you to cringe pre-emptively. Sitting for long periods of time can exacerbate back pain.
But you’ve bought your ticket. You’re ready to get away for a summer vacation in a far-off land and you intend to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
And I know you’re not alone. Back pain shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the thrill of travel and ticking off items on your bucket list. So, I’m offering these tips for flying back pain free. Bon voyage and here’s to a back pain free flight!
Your doctor is a travel ally
Before you go, be sure to visit your doctor. Your doctor knows your challenges as well as you do.
Ask that she write you a letter addressed to the airline you’ll be flying with, describing your condition and advising that you may need assistance.
That letter may be your salvation, as the flight crew will understand why you need to get up and move around at regular intervals and may even be inclined to offer some extra pillows to ease your journey.
Alternatively, reach out to the airline yourself. When flight crews know about your problem, they’ll be at the ready with assistance like early boarding and a wheelchair to get you to your gate. They’ll even put your carry on in the overhead bin.
Whenever possible, choose a direct flight at an hour of the day which doesn’t require you to rush out in the wee hours of the morning to get to the airport on time for check-in. Stress can do you in, when it comes to back pain.
Even if you can’t choose a direct flight, you can avoid flights which require long lay overs in airports. Also try to find a flight that isn’t absolutely packed. This increases your chances of getting a seat that you can stretch out on, in the absence of adjacent passengers. Talk to an airline agent before you go, to check the status of the flights you’re looking at, in light of your back problem.
Support your back
Lumbar support on airplanes is thin on the ground, so be sure to bring a back roll with you to place between your lower back and the seat. Alternatively, get extra pillows from the flight crew.
There are numerous outlets offering comfort accessories for air travel now, so go online and see what you can find. A neck cushion (even an inflatable one) is another way to protect your spine and keep it in alignment.
Don’t just sit there
While flying, it’s crucial that you get up and move around at regular intervals. This keeps your circulatory system working and helps to prevent blood clots, as well as supporting a more limber back. Sitting for long periods can compromise not only your back but can contribute to swelling in the legs.
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